Glasgow will always hold a little special spot in my heart; it was our home for just over three years, our university town and where we really did most of our growing up.
We also lived there in a time of huge change for Glasgow; I feel like it’s always had a bit of a rough reputation, the shabby sister of Edinburgh, but in the last few years that’s all changed, and Glasgow has a whole new reputation to be proud of. It’s a music hub with a thriving foodie scene, beautiful architecture and plenty of hidden pockets to explore.
So if you’re planning a weekend in Glasgow sometime soon, here are my top tips for places to go, things to do and where to eat!
Glasgow airport is out to the south-west of the city, but it’s quick and easy to reach the city centre – taxis are around £15-£20 (pro tip: don’t use one of the black taxis in the rank outside the airport, call a minicab instead!) or you can hop on the Airport Express bus which is around £7. Personally, I’d advise an AirBnb in the leafy west end of town, preferably around the Finnieston or Kelvingrove area, so you can easily check out the city centre as well as the west end.
Dump your bags and head straight to one of Glasgow’s best-loved institutions: Mother India. This is easily my favourite place to get fantastic Indian food, anywhere in the UK – it’s fresh and authentic and incredibly tasty, plus the service is always fantastic.
Post-curry, head around the corner to The Ben Nevis: a cosy, cool little pub with an eye-watering whisky selection, plenty of craft beers and knowledgeable bar staff to advise. It’s the ideal introduction to this vibrant city and a lovely way to ease yourself into the weekend!
Rise and shine! The perfect way to spend a Saturday morning in Glasgow is to explore the trendy West End. If you’re near a subway station, you can jump on for £1.30 each, and ride the sub to Hillhead to land right in the thick of things. Start your day with breakfast at Kember & Jones; this chic little brunch spot offers nutritious breakfasts that are fabulously Instagrammable. I highly recommend the waffles!
After breakfast, wander up Byres Road and take in all the cute little boutiques and shops on the way. Make sure you take the turning at the tiny Dowanside lane, to uncover a treasure trove of great vintage and antiques stores, hidden away behind the main street. De Courcy’s arcade, Starry Starry Night and Relics are all great for hunting down unusual finds.
Keep going up the street towards the beautiful Botanic Gardens, and work up an appetite for lunch. The Gardens are filled with stunning flowers, and the Kibble Palace glasshouse is well worth exploring too.
You can’t go wrong with lunch at Stravaigin! Another one of those Glasgow institutions, this stylish restaurant/bar is casual enough to pop in for a bite, but sparkly enough to feel like you’ve landed somewhere special. They have a great sharing menu that’s perfect for lunch, so order a few dishes and get stuck in!
Once you leave Stravaigin, you’re basically right at the entry point to Kelvingrove Park. Spend your afternoon wandering through this stunning city park; the landscape is breathtaking, and you can go and see the beautiful Glasgow University building too, which is the stuff of my Hogwarts dreams.
Don’t leave the park without heading to the world-famous Kelvingrove Art Gallery; the perfect way to while away the hours and see some fantastic installations. It’s a beautiful building and full of interesting, varied exhibitions that are sure to spark your interest.
If all of that art and intellect hasn’t worked up your appetite again, you’re doing it wrong. By now you’ll have earned yourself a slice of cake, so get out the Google Maps and uncover the Hidden Lane tearoom; this tiny (and definitely very hidden!) tearoom serves delicious homemade cakes and treats that you can’t miss out on.
The West End is my favourite place to spend a Saturday night! Get all dressed up and head to the Hillhead Bookclub for pre-dinner cocktails; this quirky bar is a great place to start your evening in style. Make sure you book a table though, this place can get very busy.
Another spot you must try (and must book!) is The Ubiquitous Chip on Ashton Lane. The West End’s loveliest restaurant by a mile; it’s got a beautiful interior, delicious food and a fabulous atmosphere too. A must-do for dinner!
After dinner, head up to the Grosvenor on Ashton Lane – this glamorous warehouse-style bar is upstairs and not immediately obvious, but well worth a visit. Order an Emily Emily and get on your dancing shoes!
If your evening really does go off with a bang, it’s super quick and cheap to get a taxi back into town to hit up one of Glasgow’s myriad clubs. I particularly love The Buff Club on Bath Lane, which plays the best retro hip-hop, soul and R&B – the perfect spot for a dance! Or if you’re more into your live music, King Tut’s Wah-Wah Hut is world famous and a great place to spot your new favourite band in the making – be sure to check out tickets in advance as it’s a small space and is guaranteed to be busy, whoever’s on stage.
If you’re feeling a little delicate from Saturday night’s antics, there’s only one place you need to go to replenish stock and get your head in the right place for another day of exploring: Tribeca in Partick.
Be warned; this place is extremely popular and you can’t book on weekends, so you’ll need to queue – but it is well worth it. Stacks of pancakes taller than most small children are the only food you’ll need to set up for the day ahead.
After your food, it’s time to head into town to explore the city centre: jump on the subway at Kelvinhall and ride it to Buchanan Street to land right in the middle of things. Glasgow is renowned for its shopping (it’s referred to as ‘The Style Mile’, but you’ll never hear an actual Glaswegian call it that), so you can spend the morning exploring the flagship stores on Buchanan Street and stocking up on treats.
If you’re suffering, make sure you head to either Riverhill or Gordon Street Coffee for a quick pick-me-up – you won’t regret it.
I think a light lunch is always best when you’re hitting the shops, and after a night of indulgence, something healthy might well be your best option. I always recommend Martha’s on St Vincent Street, for a healthy, tasty lunch – I particularly love their chipotle chicken with brown rice. It’s incredibly spicy but so delicious, and means you can have a slice of cake later on without feeling too naughty!
Take yourself off to explore the East End of the city; walk through the Merchant City and up along High Street to arrive at Glasgow Cathedral and the famous Necropolis. The Cathedral is unbelievably beautiful and so worth a visit, and while it may seem an odd place to visit, the Necropolis is such an interesting way to spend the afternoon. It’s quite a hike up the hill, but it’s so quiet and peaceful, and the views out across the city are really magnificent.
When you’ve made the trip up and you’re back down on steady ground, you’re worth making the twenty-minute walk down to WEST – this brewery and pub, housed in the iconic Templeton Building, is a gorgeous spot for afternoon drinks and a quick snack if you’re so inclined. I have it on good authority that the St Mungo beer is a must-order!
Your time in Glasgow is almost up, but there’s still time to enjoy one last meal in this bright,, buzzy metropolis. Get yourself over to Pizza Punks to indulge in fresh, delicious artisan pizza that will keep you feeling happy and satisfied long after your plane lands. Plus, you can jump on the bus back to the airport right outside – it’s a win-win.
And there is your itinerary for a dreamy weekend in Glasgow! I’d love to know if you use any of these tips or check out any of the places I’ve recommended – be sure to let me know on Instagram if you do…